J. Cole is set to take the stage at halftime of the 2019 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 17 at the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina.
For those unfamiliar with his work, J. Cole is recording artist raised in Fayetteville, North Carolina and is widely renowned as one of the best rappers in the game today.
He has multiple platinum albums and countless hits that you have most certainly heard on the radio, in NBA commercials and pretty much any place that plays quality rap/hip-hop music.
J. Cole is also known as one of the best celebrity basketball players - he caught an alley-oop in the 2012 Celebrity All-Star Game and tried to put his hops on display again at this All-Star Saturday Night.
He is a known NBA fan and has name-dropped several NBA players' in various tracks throughout his discography, including LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Dennis Smith Jr. among others.
During Saturday's All-Star media availability, I had the privilege of asking several NBA stars their favorite J. Cole track as well as which artist, dead or alive, they would have perform at the NBA All-Star halftime show.
After a solid 10 second pause trying to think of what his favorite J. Cole song was, Tatum elected to go with Sideline Story off of his debut studio album Cole World: The Sideline Story.
That track has one of Cole's best NBA references: "You'll never play me like LeBron versus Jordan. 20 years wonder who they gon' say was more important. Both changed the game, came through and made a lane. Who's to say that who's greater, all we know, they ain't the same."
As for who he would have perform the halftime show dead or alive, the answer was a quick and simple, "Nelly, for sure."
This came to no surprise, as Tatum is a St. Louis, Missouri-native just like Nelly.
Green said that right now it has to be Middle Child, the hit single that J. Cole dropped right before being announced as the halftime show of this year's All-Star Game.
But it was his personal connection to who he would have perform at the halftime show that stood out from the rest of this group.
"Michael Jackson," Green stated quickly.
"I never got to see him perform when he was alive and he passed away the same day as my draft day, which sucked. But out of anyone, it would definitely be him."
Booker didn't take much time to think about his favorite J. Cole song, "Cole Summer."
He showcased his true fandom by picking a smooth track off of Truly Yours 2, an EP released in 2013 where the artist announced the date of his highly-anticipated second studio album Born Sinner.
As for the artist he'd like to perform at halftime, Booker was another supporter for Michael Jackson - a reoccurring answer among the NBA stars.
Fox went with the most underground song out of the many players interviewed with Song for the Ville.
This song was unreleased, missing the cut on J. Cole's second mixtape The Warm Up that came out in 2009 - an impressive response from Fox who was just 12-years-old when that tape debuted.
And for who he'd like to see perform the halftime show dead or alive, he stayed on par with the rest of the guys.
"Michael Jackson, I mean, he's probably the greatest performer of all-time and you know he'd put on a show."
Lowry went with Mr. Nice Watch off of Cole World: A Sideline Story.
This is a hit song featuring rapper Jay-Z, who acted as a mentor for J. Cole to get his career started.
His response for his favourite song was the only one that tied into his response to which artist he would like to see perform the halftime show dead or alive, where he went with the featured artist Jay-Z.
Westbrook had trouble picking just one favourite song from Cole's library.
"Ah … I don't know if I can pick just one. I'm a huge fan, though," the All-Star point guard stated.
In similar fashion for who he'd like to see perform the halftime show, he chose not to keep it to just one artist, "Kendrick (Lamar), Nipsey (Hussle) and YG."
All three rappers Westbrook selected have California ties just like him. Kendrick and YG were both born in Compton, CA, with Nipsey right down the road in Los Angeles, CA.
Russell was the third player to pick a song off of Cole World: The Sideline Story when he elected to go with Rise and Shine.
When Rise and Shine dropped in 2011, it instantly became a staple in high school, college and NBA warm-up playlists.
Russell thought long and hard about who he would like to see perform at halftime of the All-Star Game, but eventually came to the conclusion that it was too hard to pick just one artist.
Lillard, who has a side passion for rap music under his artist name Dame D.O.L.L.A., was an opinion I was particularly excited to hear.
"My favourite J. Cole song is … one of his first tracks called Show Me Something," Lillard said with a smile on his face.
It was no surprise he dug up an unreleased single that missed the cut on The Warm Up. He is a known J. Cole fan and it was a guarantee that he was going to dive deeper than the most popular songs at the surface.
As for his dream halftime performance, I had a different question in mind for the hooping rapper - I wanted to know who he would like to perform with at halftime of the All-Star Game if given the opportunity.
He thought for a moment before you could see the hypothetical light bulb go off in his head.
"Tupac, no doubt."